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Sinatra Jr. does it his way

UTAH SYMPHONY with FRANK SINATRA JR., Kory Katseanes, conducting; Friday evening, Abravanel Hall; second performance, 8 p.m., March 10; tickets, $20 to $39, available through ArtTix, 355-2787, or all ArtTix outlets.

Frank Sinatra's impact as a singer is legendary. And the late crooner's son is keeping that legacy alive and well in his own inimitable way.

A few years back, Frank Sinatra Jr. recorded a CD called "As I Remember It," an album in which he sings some of his father's best-known tunes. That recording spawned a show with which the younger Sinatra has toured the country.

This weekend, Sinatra came to Salt Lake City with this show. At Friday's performance with the Utah Symphony, which was augmented with his own band, Sinatra wowed his appreciative audience with many of the old favorites made popular by the elder Sinatra.

The evening was a treasure chest of great hits and timeless classics, made memorable by Sinatra's stylish renditions. Sinatra has a rich, well-modulated voice that at times reminded you of his father's voice. Sinatra Jr. did a fine job selling the songs by putting his own distinctive personality into them.

And he was capably backed by his band and the Utah Symphony, conducted by his longtime music director Terry Woodson. Also in the band was Bill Miller, the elder Sinatra's pianist for nearly 50 years.

Sinatra began his set with an upbeat "Would You Like to Swing on a Star," following that up with a smooth version of "I Wish I Were in Love Again."

One of Irving Berlin's loveliest songs, "Be Careful, It's My Heart," was sung with tender feeling by Sinatra, who then changed gears for a lively rendition of George Gershwin's " 'S Wonderful."

Sinatra gave a smoky interpretation of "One More for the Road," in a fabulous duet with Miller, before kicking it up again with "I Get a Kick Out of You," which contained a strong solo by saxophonist Terry Anthony.

Slowing it down once more, Sinatra returned to Gershwin for a delightful performance of "A Foggy Day." "Three Coins in the Fountain" followed next, after which Sinatra swung with "For Once in My Life."

Sinatra closed out his show with Cole Porter's "I've Got You Under My Skin."

Before Sinatra came on stage, the Utah Symphony, led by Kory Katseanes, played an eclectic mix of classical pieces: Gershwin's overture to "Girl Crazy," Borodin's "Polovtzian Dances," the finale from Ferde Grofe's "Mississippi Suite," and Ponchielli's "Dance of the Hours." There was a loose connection to Broadway here, and since Broadway is in Manhattan, which is across the Hudson River from New Jersey, where Sinatra was born, you could make a case for their relevance.